Romanian citizen Razvan Apostal, staying in Queens on a Visa was arrested near Rye Brook, NY, last month for using an ATM “skimmer” to steal personal ATM card information. He also installed video surveillance cameras above ATM machines in order to steal Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
An ATM skimming device, or skimmer, is a device that covers the ATM card slot that reads the information on the magnetic card strip, plus, depending on the device, may record the PIN as well. For less-sophisticated skimmers, a camera can be installed to capture the PIN.
Depending on the ATM, and the crook’s knowledge of their workings, skimmers can be absurdly obvious or nearly impossible to detect.
The 31-year-old’s crimes were brought to light after a banking customer notified Chase Bank that an additional security camera had been installed above the ATM machines, allegedly aimed at the user interface portion of the machine. Chase Bank authorities notified local police. After viewing surveillance footage on the camera, Mr. Apostal was identified as the suspect.
A week later, another local ATM was found with a camera installed in the same general location.
Police searched for–then arrested–Apostal for placing a skimming device, the cameras, and a mirror at several local area ATMs. When arrested, he had the skimming device in his possession. Police discovered counterfeit $100 bills when a search of the man’s property was initiated.
Apostal is in jail awaiting trial. He’s being charged for eight counts criminal possession of forged instruments and one count of unlawful possession of a skimming device.